Dark matter and nanotech may vie for Nobel prizes

Wed Oct 1, 2008 3:48pm EDT
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By Michael Kahn

LONDON (Reuters) - A scientist who helped prove the existence of dark matter and a researcher who used the power of jellyfish to glow green in experiments may win Nobel prizes, Thomson Reuters said on Wednesday.

The analysis makes use of the way scientists credit one another for their work to find out who has done the most influential basic research in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine and economics.

Using these credits, called citations, the Scientific division of Thomson Reuters Corp tipped 21 potential winners for the prestigious prizes.

The more citations, the more useful a discovery is to other researchers, said David Pendlebury of Research Services at Thomson Reuters, who led the survey.

"You get a very strong signal of what the scientific community itself feels is an important work," Pendlebury said.

Since 2002, Pendlebury's analyses have picked 12 Nobel winners.

Successful predictions included last year's winners for medicine Mario Capecchi, Martin Evans and Oliver Smithies as well as Albert Fert and Peter Gruenberg for physics. All were forecast to be winners by Pendlebury in 2006.

"After identifying the highly cited authors we look at their areas of research to see if they were the pioneers to verify that our citations counts are good signals," Pendlebury told reporters on a telephone briefing.   Continued...